The Eagle Blog

Make People Smile!

Be the reason someone smiles todayWouldn’t it be nice if someone did something to make you feel good?

It wouldn’t need to be big … they might go and get you a coffee, bring you a cup cake, tell you a joke, give you a sincere compliment … there are many ways that someone could bring a smile to your face.

Well what if YOU were that someone bringing a smile to other people?

“It costs nothing to be nice.”

What if those kind actions were contagious?

I think that we could create a “NICE Movement” … maybe a National Day of Nice Actions?

“A few nice words can help a person a lot more than you think.”

There is an awful lot of hate and negative BS in the world … let’s try to make life just a little NICER.  Be consciously NICE to strangers, co-workers, family and friends … and see how that works!

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?



quote Public glories or private sacrifices for successIn amongst some old movies that I watched over the holiday period was a remake of an old John Wayne movie, True Grit.

It got me thinking about the importance of grit, albeit in a slightly different way than in the “Old West”, in today’s business world.

I don’t know an entrepreneur who doesn’t have grit.

I don’t know a successful leader who doesn’t have grit.

I don’t know a successful salesperson or any professional, who doesn’t have grit.

You need grit to deal with failure, challenges, set backs, uncomfortable situations, tough negotiations, tough bosses, tough clients … and all of the realities of life .

I have often said that life is not meant to be easy … no matter how much we wish it were, the reality is “It is tough out there!”, and you need grit to survive, let along thrive.  As a consequence, it is battling through the tough situations that provides us with opportunities for growth.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”  Colin Powell

In the movie, Rooster Cogburn was willing to take on all-comers and overcome whatever hardships necessary, in order to catch his quarry.

In real life we need to overcome many hurdles and challenges to achieve any measure of success.  Typically the bigger the goal, the bigger the challenges.  it will most certainly not always be plain sailing.

Yet it is within all of us to reach our goals, IF we are willing “do what it takes”, and battle through those challenges and tough times before we reach that goal.

GRIT is not a trendy thing to talk about, yet every society needs these people.

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun.  You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.”  Mary Lou Retton

We live in an ultra competitive global market, and it is the people willing to sacrifice, do what it takes, overcome adversity and beat out competition who build businesses, create jobs and drive the economy forward.

Every successful organisation needs grit from its employees in order to reach ambitious goals.  This can mean government organisations and non-profit organisations as well as companies.

So … even if GRIT is not trendy,  if you want to achieve any level of success in your life then you should work on developing yours!

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Underestimate Change at Your Peril

Andy Grove quote about complacencyThe longer you are in business the easier it is to become complacent … and complacency is the beginning of the end.

It is easy to underestimate the new competitor on the block, yet the big box stores put the local corner stores out of business, Amazon is taking a bite out of all kinds of businesses and we have a new word in our lexicon, namely Uberization!

It is easy to underestimate the speed of change, yet 88% of the Fortune 500 companies 60 years ago don’t exist now.  The top five publicly traded companies by market cap in 2016 were all tech companies, yet five years ago only one of them was a tech company.

It is easy to underestimate the small startup that has a new way of doing things.

It is easy to underestimate the new technology that will change how your competitors operate.

It is easy to underestimate the impact of big competitors coming into your space.

The reason it is so easy to underestimate all of this stuff is that change is hard, change requires effort, change requires a new way of thinking about old problems … and many people just don’t want to work that hard.

The truth is that our world is changing at an every increasing speed and we can embrace the excitement and opportunity of that … or we can wait and see what happens to us.

Stay current, keep learning, have an open mind … do NOT be so focused within your business that you miss what is happening to your business.

“Time changes everything except something within us that is always surprised by change.”  Thomas Hardy

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Know What You Don’t Know!

Knowing what you don't know quoteThat, very obvious, statement is actually an insight that two types of people tend to miss.

  1.  Those people that allow the unknown to stop them from moving ahead; and
  2. Those people who don’t recognise they could do with some help.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  Mark Twain

For many people, perhaps even the majority, this is just a fact of life, but for those who struggle with this statement here are some thoughts for you:

  1.  Whatever it is that you don’t know, someone else does.
  2. Lots of people have overcome this very “unknown” and gone on to be very successful … so you should too.
  3. Experience is a wonderful tool … if you can take advantage of someone else’s experience that is a very smart thing to do.
  4. Be wary of advice from people who have not been there, done that … there are many people who just love to give advice, whether it is good or not.
  5. Be wary of advice from people who have been there, done that and clearly still not learned “the answer”.  If you pay attention you will understand.
  6. Seek out those with experience.
  7. You don’t need to accept the word of any one person … in fact if you can get more heads onto the subject, all the better.
  8. Asking for help is actually a sign of strength … not weakness.  Not asking can be a sign of ego, stupidity, misplaced pride or just naivety.
  9. Recognising and accepting that you don’t know something is not always easy.
  10. If life was easy then everyone would do it … so if your problem was easy then likely you wouldn’t be in this position.

Self awareness is always a good trait to work on.

“I think self awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.”  Billy Jean King

Everything said can be applied to your career, your business, your social life or just about any part of your life.

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Canada’s Job Market @ Year End 2016

Canadian Job MarketGeneral Observations: 

From a jobs perspective 2016 finished much as it started, most markets were okay but not great and the oil and gas space was “hurting”.  The oil patch has been hurt not only by the low price of a barrel, but also by the political uncertainty introduced by both provincial and Federal governments that crushes any investment possibilities from private enterprises.  There has been some positive momentum associated with the upcoming Trump presidency, so we shall see how that plays out in the coming months and years.  The Canadian dollar continues to hover around the 75c US mark which makes it more expensive for imports, and Canada imports more than it exports.

The unemployment rate at the end of the year was 6.9%, a slight improvement over the 7% at the end of September, and even better than the 7.1% of this time last year.  During the previous 12 months Canada added 214,000 jobs although the majority of these were part time jobs.

TSXThe stock market continues to be relatively volatile, but perhaps that is the new norm.  For the purposes of this report I focus on the TSX and it has enjoyed a reasonable period of growth over the last year, ending 2016 at around 15,300 points which was currently at around 15,000 points which was more than 200 points better than it ended last year.

picture of an oil rigAs already mentioned the oil patch continues to take a pounding and we don’t anticipate much positive change before 2018.  With oil settling at around $50 a barrel we are not likely to see the start of any major projects although there is some optimism that most of the “bleeding” is done.  Alberta will not attract much private sector investment in the current political climate, particularly when almost any other jurisdiction outside of Canada is more business friendly.

Canadian dollar the LoonieThe Canadian dollar finished 2016 at around 75c US, as opposed to the 70C US it was a year ago.  A weaker dollar is good for the oil patch because they sell in US dollars and most costs are in Canadian dollars.  It is also helpful to our manufacturing sector, because finished goods exported with a weak dollar mean a better profit margin.  However importing raw materials becomes more expensive and generally Canada imports more than it exports so overall a weak Canadian dollar is not good for Canada.

The banking sector is one of the bigger employers in Canada, and the Canadian banks have fared well this year with their stock prices riding high.  They are also prudent money managers and have been very careful with their hiring.  They take full advantage of technology which can mean a reduction is client facing staff as e-banking continues to grow and  even their technology projects have seen very careful hiring this year,

The telecommunications companies are other big employers in Canada and are also very cost conscious.  While they demand the best talent in order to compete, they too, are also careful about keeping employment costs under control, particularly as they are also acquisitive, which can mean a big focus on integration of acquired companies.  Some of the drivers of demand here include the highly competitive nature of the business, investment in infrastructure, technological innovation and a need to plan for a retiring “Boomer” workforce.

The US economy continues to add jobs, but at a reduced rate of about 150,000 per month.  The demand for skills in the US will lure talent from Canada which is good for the individuals but not so good for Canada in the long term.  What has not happened, and is different from previous economic times, is that Canada’s economy has not improved along with US economy, which is one of the indicators of our “new normal” environment.

ConstructionThe construction industry seems to be forever busy, to which anyone trying to get work done will attest.  Despite the slowdown in the big jobs like the oil sands, there appears to be a constant demand caused by infrastructure upgrades in many of our cities and we have the promise of more such work funded by our growing national debt (was that my out loud voice?).

Parliament building in OttawaThe three levels of government in Canada are big employers.  Municipal, provincial and Federal governments employ a lot of people and with the current Federal government it was expected their ranks would grow.  There has been some growth in the Federal payroll, about 40,000 in 2016 but it was expected to be more.  All of these governments are dealing with the issue of a fast retiring upper echelon.  The pensions are so lucrative that large numbers of civil servants are eligible for, and invariably take, retirement at a very early age.  This will create opportunity for new jobs, but will also result in a significant brain drain from our government.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy (the staffing industry) and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The reading at the end of 2016 was 96, as opposed to 98 a year earlier.  While that appears to be a drop, it is in effect negligible because there were less work days in December 2016 than a year earlier.

Eagle LogoHere at Eagle we experienced a 10% drop in demand from our clients in 2016 as opposed to 2015.  We also experienced a 4% increase in people looking for work.  This really tells the tale of the Canadian economy in 2016, there are less jobs and more people looking.   Eagle’s world is primarily in the technology space, and while we expect things to pick up in 2017 we expect to see skills shortages start to add to Canada’s economic problems.

 More Specifically:

cn tower The GTA is Eagle’s busiest region, representing about 60% of our business.  Not surprising given its boast as the 4th largest city in North America, containing more than 50% of Canadian head offices and with a population of approximately six (6) million.  This market has remained one of the busier markets in Canada, yet has not been as buoyant as previous years, with banks, telcos and provincial government all just a little slower with their hiring.   We anticipate things to pick up in 2017 and demand for skilled resources to increase substantially.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal & the “Maritimes”.  While there is a better mood amongst the Federal civil service under the Trudeau government, I can’t say that I share their optimism given his focus on anything but job creation.  We do expect a decent level of demand in the Federal government in 2017, with necessary projects requiring expertise and the steady flow (certainly more than a drip) of talent retiring.  Quebec is enjoying its lowest unemployment rate in some time, and Montreal remains the hub of that activity.  We anticipate that to continue in 2017.  The Maritime Provinces continue to struggle to create employment and we don’t expect much change there.

The Saddledome in CalgaryWestern Canada is of course comprised of the oil patch in Alberta and the rest.  Some provinces have fared better than others, with certainly Alberta taking the brunt of the hit because of its resource based employment.  BC was actually the fastest growing province in Canada in 2016, and Saskatchewan has fared better than other provinces with a business friendly government.  The outlook for Alberta in 2017 is better, but not exciting.  The other provinces should see a reasonable increase in jobs.

The Hot Client Demand.

At Eagle our focus in on professional staffing and the people in demand from our clients have been fairly consistent for some time.  Program Managers, Project Managers and Business Analysts always seem to be in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Big data, analytics, CRM, web (portal and self-serve) and mobile expertise (especially developers) are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting side, we see a consistent need for Financial Analysts, Accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus Controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Expertise in the Capital markets, both technical and functional, tends to be a constant ask in the GTA.  Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that also sees plenty of demand.  This demand fluctuates based on geography and industry sectors, so we advise candidates to watch our website and apply for the roles for which they are best suited.


The last year was a tough one in the Canadian economy and we will continue to face challenges into 2017, with carbon taxes, a struggling oil patch, a resurgent but protectionist US economy under Donald Trump and a Federal government more interested in the environment, foreign aid, being recognised on the world stage and anything other than creating a business friendly atmosphere in Canada.

On the plus side for job seekers, there will be growth opportunities afforded by a growing number of retirees requiring replacement, and some sectors that will grow … some which we believe will be the telecommunications, technology, construction, government and the financial sector.

That was my look at the Canadian job market for the final quarter in 2016 and some of its influences.

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

December Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for December 2016. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

Five years ago, in December 2011 Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped up by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto based Rypple was acquired by!  The BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion.  It was IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for DemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector. Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseFour years ago, in December 2012 there was a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker which provides analytics for utilities companies.  The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 Billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire.   Montreal based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix.  In the BYOD space Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million.  Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens Business Support Network. December 2013 was a slow month, however Oracle pulled off a $1.5 billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based IBM logosecurity solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments; IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca.  In other company news Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit cards.  December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.  Microsoft made two Microsoft logoacquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger. December 2015 was not a busy M&A month but there was some interesting activity.  The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition of Wind for $1.6 billion.  Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc.  Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players.  Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate.

Which brings us back to the present …

December 2016 saw Adecco sell its majority stake in Beeline VMS to GTRC, a private equity firm, for $100 million in cash plus a $30 million note; CRN solution provider SS&C purchased asset service firm Conifer for $88.5 million; solution provider QRX Technology Group acquired IT equipment provider Kerr Norton at the beginning of the month; networking solution provider, Juniper Networks acquired cloud operations management provider AppFormix; Uber bought start-up Geometric Intelligence Inc.; and Shopify acquired Tiny Hearts, a Toronto-based mobile product development studio.

In other news, Yahoo disclosed that one billion accounts were hacked in 2013 making it Yahoo logothe largest data breach recorded in history. To safeguard against hacking attempts on your devices, Check Point Software advises users to make sure they download the latest versions of software as they have discovered new malware that targets devices running outdated software. Cyber attacks and security breaches are also a major concern for IT and business professionals where, according to Symantec, 30% of business surveyed have experienced a hack over the last two years.   GoPro also announced layoffs of up to 15% of its workforce and Amazon delivered its first package by drone!

That’s my look at the tech news for December 2016.  Until next month, walk fast and smile!

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

2017 Resolutions Made Easy

Goals quote by NightingaleIt took me a while to understand the power of goals and the need to have them in my life.  I expect that the reasons I resisted were similar the reasons most people resist:

  • Goal setting seems like an academic exercise:
  • I wasn’t sure how to start:
  • I wasn’t sure how to set realistic goals;
  • It all feel like work, maybe I would do it tomorrow!

I’m sure you have heard all of the good reasons why you should have goals …

  • If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there;
  • Goals help to focus your efforts;
  • Goals are like a road map for life, they guide you in your decisions.

Well hopefully I can help you to get started, and to commit to giving it a try.

This is a great time of year for goal setting. Those people who set goals last year can develop a score card, and understand what they achieved and where they fell short. This will feed into their goals for 2017.

All good stuff … but goals are for other people, right?

  • Wrong … if you really want to take charge of your life then goals are for you! Why should you do it now, when you have procrastinated every year until now? Because I am going to make it easy for you … and if you try it you will see results!The following are the steps I took to get started …Step 1. I developed categories that worked for me …
  • Health and Fitness
  • Vacation
  • Career
  • Family
  • Training/Education

Step 2. I set at least one goal for each category, several goals in some categories. Here are some examples …

Under health and fitness you might want to lose 5lb by March 2017; you might want to add weights into your workout routine at least twice a week; you might plan to reduce coffee consumption to 2 per day. Etc.

Under Vacation you should really give some thought about where you would like to go this year. It could be to enjoy the cottage at least 12 weekends, or plan a weekend getaway without the kids; or take a 2 week vacation somewhere exotic etc.

Under Career you might set a goal of mastering certain aspects of your current role by the Fall; having a career planning meeting with your boss or HR; or developing a training plan to advance your career.

The goals that you pick need to be achievable and within your control. This way you will see progress and as you do progress you can always add more goals or increase the “intensity”.

Step 3. Plan into your calendar a monthly review. At that review you will check your progress against each goal and will create action items to address them … which will go onto your “to do” list (of course you have a “to do” list!).

This is a very basic, easily managed approach to goal setting. You can obviously get much more complicated and sophisticated but this works and the most important thing is to start somewhere.

Try it … this time next year you can be sitting and reviewing how you did in all of those categories and planning for 2018! Good luck!

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Season’s Greetings

2016 Eagle Holiday CardAs we wrap up another year and celebrate the beginning of a new one, the Eagle Team would like to extend our warmest wishes to you and your family.

In the spirit of giving, Eagle has made our traditional $15 000 holiday donation to charities across Canada. This simple gesture in lieu of cards and gifts will help make the holidays that much better for more families in our communities.

We want to take this opportunity to wish you a safe holiday season and happy New Year.

Happy Holidays,
The Eagle Team


MLK quote What are you doing for othersYou have a good job … you can afford to give something.

There are SO MANY deserving causes.

Families caught in a tough situation who will not get a good holiday meal.

Kids who will go hungry, or cold or both.

People struggling in third world countries for basics like water and food … never mind shelter.

Even in our “rich” society there are plenty of people that really need a hand.

So … go without that extra holiday gift and give some cash to make difference!

Have a couple of less  Starbucks coffees and give some cash to a good cause.

Give some of your old clothes to help those in need.

Drop some food off at the food banks.

Do SOMETHING that is selfless and to help others.

You WILL feel good about it.

You will be rewarded in ways you don’t even know yet!

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Ghandi

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Finish the Year Strong!

There is no traffic jam along the extra mile For many salespeople December means slowing down, stopping pushing for sales and waiting for the New Year.  Some clients are winding down for the holidays.  Some are putting decisions off to the New Year.  The salespeople have a lot of personal things to get done, and might use this time to catch up on some paperwork.

If that is how you feel then you are in the majority of sales people … BUT the top performers, perhaps even your competition, are pressing right through to the final hour before the holidays.

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.”  Winston Churchill

Ten Thoughts …

  1.  Just because some of your clients are slowing down, it does not mean that they all are.
  2. Some clients use this “slower period” to get decisions made.
  3. This can be the best time of the year to get meetings with clients who are typically difficult to meet.
  4. If you are reliant upon just a few key contacts then now would be a great time to meet new prospects.
  5. Dropping off cards and small gifts (where allowed) is a great way to get in the door.
  6. If all of your client conversations are about asking for business this time of year can be an opportunity to have different conversations.
  7. If you slow down now it will affect your new year sales … plant seeds now for the new year.
  8. There is less competition “out there” as we head into the holidays, because others are slowing down … take advantage of that!
  9. If you slow down and your competition doesn’t, then you might be losing business.
  10. Sales is all about momentum … if you lose momentum now, then re-establishing momentum in the New Year will be so much tougher.

Don’t fall into the trap … keep pushing right till the very end.

In life, as in running, don’t stop with time on the clock!

Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?